There is a far-future Earth-like planet, Arbre, where scientists, philosophers and mathematicians—a religious order unto themselves – have been cloistered behind concent (convent) walls. Their role is to nurture all knowledge while safeguarding it from the vagaries of the irrational secular outside world.
Among the monastic scholars is 19-year-old Raz, collected into the concent at age 8 and now a decenarian, or tenner (someone allowed contact with the world beyond the stronghold walls only once a decade). But millennia-old rules are cataclysmically shattered when extraterrestrial catastrophe looms, and Raz and his teenage companions – engaging in intense intellectual debate one moment, wrestling like rambunctious adolescents the next – are summoned to save the world.
Anathem is another intellectually amazing novel from Neal Stephenson.